U.S. Consumers: Companies Should Pay To Manage Climate Change

by | Nov 16, 2008

The fifth EcoPinion Survey from EcoAlign finds that consumers generally agree on the definition of climate change, the importance of reducing climate change and the role of the individual to reduce climate change. However, significant differences emerge on specific actions to be taken, questions of cost allocation and the role of government.

“Higher penalties on companies that contribute to climate change” was clearly the top response (61 percent) on the best way for society to pay for the costs of managing climate change, a nearly 45 percent differential with the next top response (16 percent) indicating “higher fees on products or services that contribute to climate change.”

But the report is full of seemingly contradictory findings and potential conflicts: Approximately one half (46 percent) of Americans surveyed believe individual citizens have the primary responsibility to reduce climate change, followed by the federal government (25 percent) and oil, gas and coal companies (10 percent).

Even though they have a feeling of responsibility, a majority of Americans (53 percent) were only “somewhat confident” or “not confident” that they personally can impact climate change through actions and purchasing decisions. Only 15 percent of Americans surveyed were “very confident” that they could make a personal impact.


One-third of respondents said that no utility bill increase is necessary to manage climate change and 44 percent said a less than 10 percent increase would be required.

The previous EcoPinion Survey, released in August, found that the Energy Star label is extremely or very important to 68 percent of consumers.

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